1. University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts

USC's School of Cinematic Arts supplies students with a comprehensive education in all aspects of film making. It is required that no matter what a student's track is, they take courses in other aspects of the film world. For instance, an aspiring screenwriter might take a course in directing to better understand what really "works" in a film and the cuts and decisions directors sometimes have to make. Someone in the producing program might take a film production class to better understand the creative process. This technique has produced a mass of successful alumni in all areas of film making including: Will Ferrell, Peter Rainier, Anne Lai, Brad Ableson, Kevin Feige, Kevin Bachus, John Knoll, Tom Johnson, Walter Murch, Robert Elswit, Matthew Weiner, John Carpenter, and Tom De Santo.

2. Tisch School of the Arts at New York University

The Tisch School of the Arts is notable for several reasons. They are the founders of the two-week long First Run Festival where Tisch School of the Arts students showcase their newly completed films. They also offer study abroad programs in Dublin, Havana, Johannesburg, London, Prague, Shanghai, Amsterdam, Berlin, Florence, Paris, and Sydney. Notable alumni include: Woody Allen, Joel Coen, Whoopi Goldberg, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Martin Scorsese, Oliver Stone, Adam Sandler, Spike Lee, Alec Baldwin, Billy Crystal, Briget Fonda, Anne Hathaway, and Lady Gaga.

3. University of California, Los Angeles: School of Theater, Film, and Television

UCLA offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees in their Film, Television, and Digital Media school. There is also an undergraduate film minor. While the undergraduate film program is all encompassing (studying history, theory, criticism, special effects, computer animation, screenwriting, directing, sound recording, editing, etc.), the master's degree programs are more specific, offering an Animation MFA, Cinema and Media Studies MA and PhD, Cinematography MFA, Moving Image Archive Studies MA, Producers Program MFA, Production / Directing MFA, and a Screenwriting MFA. Dustin Lance Black, Charles Burnett, Francis Ford Coppola, James Dean, James Franco, Mila Kunis, Alexander Payne, Joel Siegel, Ben Stiller, David Silverman, and Rob Reiner all went to UCLA's School of Theater, Film, and Television.

4. Columbia University School of the Arts

Columbia's School of the Arts program is especially enticing because of the CU Film Productions Club. This an undergraduate club that enables its members to find actors, directors, editors, and whatever else they might need in order to put a film into production. You can even rent out equipment for free. Two times a year, the CU Film Productions Club hosts a film festival featuring Columbia students' work. Columbia University also has something to offer graduate students, offering MFAs in Creative Producing and Screenwriting / Directing, and MA degree in Film Studies. Notable alumni include: Casey Affleck, Albert Berger, Kathryn Bigelow, Richard Corliss, Nicole Holofcener, Simon Kinberg, and James Mangold.

5. American Film Institute

The American Film Institute is an alternative film education. It is self-described as a non-profit educational and cultural organization. They offer many programs, one of which is the AFI Conservatory. This program is a two-year MFA study with concentrations in cinematography, directing, editing, producing, production design, and screenwriting. AFI alumni include Wally Pfister, Dante Di Loreto, Anne Garefino, Terrence Malick, Drake Doremus, Patty Jenkins, Anne Garefino, Brad Falchuk, Dante Di Loreto, Bradley Duecker, Jeremy Podeswa, Manny Cotto, and Paul Starkman.